Jump Starting 2012

It feels like just yesterday that I was writing a "Year in Review: 2010" post, so when I feel less lazy and less like "I just did this, why do I have to this again?", I may (or may not) write one.

In the mean time, my hubby and I are going on a cruise with some friends of ours in late April. Prior to our wedding, I lost 18 pounds in preparation. Over the past two years since then, I have put back on nine of those pounds. I think this mostly has to do with that fact that I feel like I can eat whatever I want because I do triathlons. I want to get into "cruise body" shape and I have 16 weeks to do it, which is a ton of time. My goal is to lose 12 pounds in those 16 weeks. Why 12? Because I'll probably put back on 2-3 pounds during the course of the cruise, so I'll be right back at wedding weight when all is said and done.

To kick start my weight loss, I am going nuts on food and alcohol today as my farewell to eating bad, then I'm starting with a one week cleanse tomorrow. Its a "cleanse" that I came up with on my own to hopefully jumpstart my weight loss. Here are the goals of my one week cleanse:

1. No alcohol.
2. Limited caffeine (one tea a day)
3. No sweets.
4. No fried or greasy foods.
5. No red meat
6. 64 ounces of water a day
7. 5 servings of fruits and veggies (total, not of each) a day (this will be the hardest as we currently don't have either one in the house and we don't usually have much of either, but that's what grocery shopping is for)

Even if I really struggle with any one (or 7) of these goals, its only for a week. It will also make it easy to sustain a less strict diet once I'm done with the cleanse. If I can do this for one week, I can follow the Weight Watchers plan for the remaining 15 weeks without much problem (I hope).

Christmas 2011

Phew...being out of town for 10 days really throws a wrench in all of my blogging. I have been playing catch up on everything else like laundry, cleaning, e-mail, etc. since then and I am just now settling in to write this post.

To be honest, Christmas was a little LOT more awkward than I thought it was going to be. Ben and I are both still stressed and upset about it. Ben in particular because he has experienced a lot of this before with his own divorce, so it dredged up a lot of bad memories. In between the awkward moments, spontaneous blow-ups, and back-handed or rude comments, we did have a good time in Florida. Everybody received a lot of really nice presents. I got most of what I asked for and a few other nice things that I didn't ask for, but equally appreciated. On Christmas Eve, we went for a 20 mile bike ride with my parents (my brother and his baby lung slept in). We also went on a couple of walks (had to enjoy the lovely weather), one with my brother and one with everybody. I think my brother in particular needed the one on two walk with us to vent some of his own emotions and thoughts on the divorce. He is typically a very introverted person and rarely discusses his feelings, so we knew he was having a particularly bad time with the divorce considering how animated he was when talking about the divorce. Most of the rest of our time there was spent doing last minute Christmas shopping and trying to relax.

First, serious Christmas pictures...

But we all know we can't be completely serious for an entire five days...
Lil bro, Alexander, and I

Alexander's face is hilar!

Alexander and Dad

My fam (minus lil sis, Laurel) at Gulf off Mexico

Really says "Big Bend Seagrasses"

Sneaking up on him Christmas morning

Merry Christmas!


Before going to my parents house, the basketball team had a tournament at Stetson. The coaches felt that the team has put in a lot of work, both on and off the court and hasn't been able to do anything fun and extravagent as a team in a while (last time was a tournament in Hawaii a couple of years ago), so they decided to take the team to Disney World while we were in Florida. I had been to Disney World once before, but I was 8 years old when I last went. It was probably more exciting to watch the girls who were experiencing Disney for the first time. 
The team

Staff and student manager

Camel in Its a Small World

Campbell at Haunted Mansion

Another camel!

P.S. I still think Disney World is over-priced. Other than taking my future kids once for the experience or for other free trips, I don't think its worth the $85 / day price tag. Ouch! I was definitely grateful for the chance to experience it as an adult and form new memories.

What I Hate About Christmas

This morning on the radio, they were having listeners call in and discuss the one thing that they hate about Christmas, but would never tell their friends or family. Of course in my alway optimistic form, I thought to myself, "There's nothing about Christmas that I hate, and there's definitely nothing that I hate that I would never tell my friends or family about". But the more I thought about it, there is something about Christmas I don't like and it doesn't have anything to do with Christmas itself.

I don't like that my job offers me little time off around the holidays. A big part of that is the sports I have worked with have all included a winter sport (hockey and basketball). Even if their game schedule doesn't conflict with Christmas, they usually practice as much as possible around Christmas. Personally, I have learned to accept it. To me, it is worth it to do a job that I love, but I know I have friends and family members that don't see it that way.

They all want to see me for Christmas, but there isn't enough time, and unfortunately (or fortunately) there is only one of me. I wish I was able to see everyone, but its just not feasible. The people-pleaser side of me gets so stressed this time of year, because regardless of whose family we visit, I always feel like I'm disappointing the other family. To avoid having to choose one family over the other last year, Ben and I just stayed in Boston for Christmas and did our own thing. This year, I decided to go to my parents for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is the divorce. My parents are still going to celebrate Christmas together this year, and not knowing whether that will happen ever again led my to celebrate with them this year. It also just worked better with my schedule. The basketball team is participating in a tournament in Stetson right before Christmas. Stetson isn't that far from my family, so I am just staying in Florida after the tournament and Ben will meet me down there.

I am still sad that I don't get to see Ben's family at all for these holidays, but hopefully, my schedule will permit it next year.

At the same time, I shouldn't let all of this get me down so much. My friends and family need to be equally understanding and respectful of me and my job. Sure, I chose this job and this lifestyle, but I love it. Those serving our country overseas chose that job, and their families need to be supportive of them, even if they can't make it home for Christmas every year. Sometimes, I don't feel like I always get that kind of support. And even if they do support me fully, I don't always feel like they understand it completely. Almost every year its the same thing, "So why aren't you going to be here for such and such a holiday/birthday/family event again? Why can't you just take off?"

Well, answer me this, why can't ER doctors and nurses just take off? Don't you go around thinking about having a heart attack on Christmas! Why can't airline pilots just take off? You don't really need to see those relatives on the other side of the country around the holidays, do you? And those service men and women? Christmas should be the last time we're thinking about world peace and safety. Sure, what I do is sports-related and that's really unimportant compared to some of these things, but think of the outcry if the NFL decided not to have games on Thanksgiving or if the NCAA didn't have bowl games on New Year's or if the NBA didn't start their belated season on Christmas Day?

I feel blessed that I even get time off at all. Thank you to all of you out there who don't get much or any time off. Thank you for making our holidays better and brighter.

Ten For Tuesday: Christmas List

Now that Christmas shopping season is well under way, and Christmas itself is within sniffing distance, today's topic is ten things that are on my Christmas list this year. Feel free to help my family out with the gift giving!

1. Giftcards (can't go wrong with money)
2. Make-up / Make-up brushes
3. Clothes
4. Coffee, particularly K-cups for my Keurig
5. 2011 Hallmark NHL ornament
6. Loose leaf tea
7. Nail polish
8. Robe
9. Money for books for my Nook
10. Supplies for my new hobby, hopefully, will turn into business

And I would be remiss if I didn't ask for a Red Rider BB gun, especially considering my new living situation, but I guess I will just have to be remiss...at least until my birthday.

Redneck Christmas

20 days until Christmas!!!!

There has not been a lot going around these here parts other some some Christmas prep. While Ben was out of town Thanksgiving weekend, I did some much needed house cleaning and put up most of the Christmas decorations. Needless to say, our house was in worse shape this weekend than last, so we did some more cleaning and put up the (real) Christmas tree. I told Ben that if our new place allowed for it, I would really like to get a live Christmas tree this year. It took more convincing than I had hoped (really? who doesn't like real Christmas trees?), but we got a nice little 7 footer turned 6 footer because our ceiling is really low. Stanley, fortunately, doesn't really care for the tree, so he stays away from it for the most part. I can't tell if he doesn't like the smell, the needles, or the sap...or a little of all three. Either way, I don't have to worry about waking up to the tree on the ground (I hope). I'll post pictures on that once we are done decorating it.

We have yet to fix the outdoor lights. I attempted to put them up myself to surprise Ben when he got home, but it didn't go too well. I wanted to put up our newly purchased icicle lights along the front roof of the house. The little plastic doo dads that I bought at Walmart to hang the lights with didn't work. The fell off under the weight of the lights, so I just wrapped the strand around the porch railing. We have two porch railings and the light strand was too long for one, but would obviously block the doorway if I jumped them from one railing to the next, so I doubled them over. So there is an excessively large number of lights on one half of our porch. We hope to fix that soon, but the alternative would be to leave them and fit in more with the local rednecks.

Speaking of rednecks, we didn't have any Scotch tape, so I improvised...

Bonus Pics:
One of the mice I caught last week

Stanley sleeping

Monthly Training Recap

I definitely did not do as well as I had planned on accomplishing some things this month as far as fitness, healthy eating and training are concerned.

Goal #1 - Workout everyday. I think I failed at this two days in. Now that the basketball season is in full swing, there are some days where I legitimately have no time for anything other than work and sleep. For December, my goal is to workout 5 days a week.

Goal #2 - Put any kind of distance into swimming, biking and running. Here is how I did:
Swim - 1100yd
Bike - 8.5mi (all on the stationary bike)
Run - 21.35mi
Not as much as I had hoped, but its a start. I have lots of room for improvement in December.
As far as non-triathlon related workouts, I put in 1 hours and 30 minutes of cross-training and 1 hour and 50 minutes of strength training.
My goal for December:
Swim 5000yd
Bike 40mi
Run 36mi
Strength 2hr 30min

Goal #3 - Lose 3.5lbs. Actual weight loss: 2.6lbs. Not bad considering Thanksgiving, and I guess the team eats McDonald's for pre-game meals on the road? Anyways, I digress. I also did not workout anywhere near as much as I wanted. I think if I work a little bit harder on both parts, I think 3.5lbs is realistic for December.

Ten For Tuesday: Late Again!

I don't have any ideas for a blog post for today, so I'm rewinding back to yesterday. I have done a lot of traveling in my day, and I was curious to know what are the 10 biggest cities that I have been to. Using worldatlas.com and mongabay.com as my sources for population, here are the 10 biggest cities (by population) that I have been to in order of greatest population to smallest.

Note: This is actually visiting, not just flying/driving through.

1. New York City
New York City Skyline

2. London, UK

3. Paris, France

4. Chicago

5. Toronto, Canada

6. Washington DC

7. Detroit
Haha! Just kidding...

8. Minneapolis
Minneapolis Minnesota

9. Kiev, Ukraine

10. St. Louis

Bonus Point Question: What do all these cities have in common?

Hint: I picked out very specific pictures to help you with the answer.

Odd Thanksgivings

People tend to give thanks for obvious things, but here is a list of things I have forgotten to be thankful for that are a little less obvious:

1. Thankful that we lost the National Championship game. Could have been worse. We could have lost earlier.

2. Thankful that Game 6 of the World Series was a nightmare. How else would we remember the amazing run that was this year's St. Louis Cardinals?

3. Thankful that I didn't finish Rev3 Cedar Point. The biggest success was making it to the starting point and actually having the courage to do the race.

4. Thankful that I had to wait so long and go through so many job applications and interviews before finally getting a job. I love it here and I love my co-workers and my teams. Only thing that could make this any better would be if it were a hockey job.

5. Thankful that I'm not spending Thanksgiving with my family. Makes me appreciate the little time that I do get to spend with them so much more.

6. Thankful that my parents are getting a divorce, and not under hostile terms. At least I still have a good relationship with both of my parents and they are both alive and well.

7. Thankful that I get a flat tire in almost every triathlon that I do. I have gotten really good at changing flats under pressure.

8. Thankful that I have had to work with an under-staffed staff. It is giving me a lot more experience than I would get normally. Plus, its another bragging point or "challenge" that I can talk about in future interviews.

9. Thankful for this 6 hour bus ride. Two posts in one day, say what?!

Random Photos

I'm preparing this post now (Monday) for your viewing pleasure as you're near passing out from mass amounts of Turkey. Instead of making you read on a holiday, I'll just post a bunch of random photos I have taken recently.


Fall Outfit

View from our backyard

Our backyard

Stanley's first bath

Wet doggy

Thanksgiving dinner